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Saturday, December 17, 2011

ChampiƱones al ajillo (Gorgeous Garlic Mushrooms)

So what is Spanish food all about? Start with conviviality and freshly prepared dishes with extra virgin olive oils, wines, cheeses, chic peas, lentils, parsley, rice almonds, garlic, saffron, cinnamon and fresh fruit. Add these to more olive oil and wine, very fresh fish, seafood, game, cured hams, sausages like chorizo, fresh breads, and to a lesser extent, beef, and you are almost there

You can't get more Spanish than this for a tapa.  Gorgeous mushrooms infused with exotic flavors that will leave 'em whining.  So make plenty and include some fresh crusty bread, such as a baguette, to sop up those seriously-garlicky juices.

                                                  some serious inspiration        



  • 4 oz. good, strong olive oil
  • 16 oz button mushrooms, whole or sliced
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbsp dry sherry
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice                                                                          
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 4 dashes of paprika
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • handful, of chopped parsley, to garnish

  1. Heat oil in skillet over high heat and fry mushrooms for 3 minutes, stirring constantly
  2. Lower heat to medium, add garlic, sherry, lemon juice, salt and pepper - cook 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

This dish is quite easy and quite delicious to serve with bread, as a tapa, but can also be an accompaniment to a beef, lamb, or pork roast, steak or chops.

If you slice the mushrooms, you can serve on toasted baguette slices.
Can be made a day ahead and served warm or room-temperature.            


Campo Viejo 2006 - an affordable, and versatile choice.
Rioja  -  They play violins to their wines.  :)

       Body of a Woman

Body of woman, white hills, white thighs,
you look yourself like a world in your attitude of surrender.
My rough peasant's body digs in you
and makes the son leap from the depths of the earth.

I was alone like a tunnel. The birds fled from me
and the night enveloped me with its crushing invasion.
To survive myself I forged to you like a weapon,
like an arrow in my bow, like a stone in my sling.

But the hour of vengeance falls, and I love you.
Body of skin, of moss, of eager and firm milk.
Ah those goblets of the chest! Ah those eyes of absence!
Ah the roses of the pubis! Ah your voice slow and sad!

Body of my woman, I will persist in your grace.
My thirst, my unbounded desire, my uncertain road!
Dark river-beds where the eternal thirst follows,
and tiredness follows, and the infinite ache.

 - Pablo Neruda, 1924                     




Monday, December 12, 2011

Toot's Meatballs

Two days ago my Aunt Toots passed away.  I couldn't tell you what her real name was, for me it would be Aunt Toots regardless.  I was always tickled that she lived on Lapidary Lane, in Falling Creek Village.  It was so "fairytale-ish", and so were her meatballs.  I've had many meatballs in my life - most were either smothered in barbecue sauce or some grape jelly concoction.  Not only were Aunt Toot's meatballs delicious without a sauce (the oatmeal makes all the difference), but the tartness of the jellied-cranberries along with the tanginess of the chili sauce, coupled with a smidgen of brown sugar sealed them as hers.  I've made them for over 25 Christmas's - in fact, the recipe card I have it on is written in my former husband's hand writing.  That was 25 years ago! 


2 lbs beef
1/4 cup water
1 small finely chopped onion
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal (ran through a food processor until powdery)
1 1/2 tsp salt

16 oz can jellied cranberry
12 oz bottle Heinz chili sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar                                                                                          


Combine first 6 ingredients and roll into walnut-size balls
Place on a tin-foiled covered cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 20 min-1/2 hr, or until done

Stir remaining 3 ingredients into a crock pot and heat until melted
Place the meatballs in crock pot with sauce and simmer together.

If you choose to make these, please call them Toot's meatballs.  I think she would like that.  And so would I.

Say hi to Uncle Art for me.